My obligatory 9-11 post

This September 11th, you will be innundated with stories of courage and bravery and the American spirit in the face of tragedy etc…..
In addition, you will hear the stories about how our lives changed forever because we now realized that “THEY” could get to us now and we needed to be vigilant against those who hate us for our freedoms
ETC……..
What you won’t hear too much of are the people like me who didn’t see Islamic terrorism as the greatest threat to our liberty
What people like me saw was a wide open opportunity for the owners of this country (a George Carlin expression) to use this new paranoia to encroach upon our liberties in the name of National Security

These statements came out of my mouth that very day
Many people were offended by my cynicism and questioned how I could be so bitter and coldhearted towards the victims of this attack
I felt as sad for those people as I did for any group of people killed by a tornado or hurricane or flood or genocidal ethnic cleansing (in some other country)
What I saw as hypocrisy was that, all of the sudden, people cared about such a tradgedy because it was now happening in our own country
It was the same browbeating and outrage I recieved when the Columbine shootings occurred and I replied “I was wondering when some kid was gonna snap”

Well guess what?
“They” had enough and snapped
“We” had the audacity to act shocked when people who hit back after having their lives ruled by the influence of a country that had been arrogantly claiming to be “The Greatest Country on the Face of the Earth”
Just like the powerless kids who were tired of being intimidated and bullied by the jocks and popular kids, these people decided they would rather die than suffer the indignity of being under the heel of the USA
Of course, you can default to the obligatory statements like “They were brainwashed by religious zealots” but that’s just something you can say to yourself instead of making an effort to understand the reasons why they did it

In typical modern American fashion, we and our president responded by quickly negating all sympathies towards the USA and immediately taking up the mantle of revenge
Instead of asking “What could we have done to these people that would drive them to do such horrible things?” we responded with “Either you are with us or against us”

The growing sense of paranoia that immediately flooded the collective psyche of this country also affected me
But, as I said before, the focus of my paranoia wasn’t Islamic Fundamentalists, rather it was the ruling class of this country
It was every cop, judge, lawmaker and politician
It was also any multi-billion dollar monolithic corporation
These entities were not too concerned about the freedoms of the US citizen in the first place
Now that they had a REAL war and not just some phantom menace (sorry) to trump out everytime we were required to vote with our fears, they had license to enter every aspect of our personal lives
And that license had one all powerful and galvanizing word
A word that triggers an instant all encompassing emotional reaction from every single person
TERRORISM

This word quickly became as fluid and all encompassing as words like “Racist” or “Criminal” and could be applied like a band-aid over any situation where it is imperative to immediately trigger a gut reaction-predjudice towards the intended target
Drug-Terrorist, Eco-Terrorist, Animal Rights-Terrorist, Electronic-Terrorist etc….
All movements that were previously thought of as fringe lunatics that, at least annoyed us and clogged up our roads with their bikes, and at worst were breaking into laboratories, ramming whaling ships or spreading computer viruses, could now be conveniently saddled with the scarlet “T”

It didn’t take much to figure out that this new environment was ripe for exploitation
For those of us who didn’t buy it, there was an overwhealming sense of doom
We knew that there was now a race by “Them” to dig as deeply into the legal, business and social infrastructures of this country so that they could secure as many positions as possible
These positions being policies, laws and regulations that would be virtually impossible to root out once the country finally wakes up and declares they’ve had enough
Of course, it will never be “Us” against “Them” as long as the American people insist on allowing nationalism and political theater to cloud their outlook on what’s happening
“They” (not the terrorists but our own ruling class) don’t need to defend themselves against “Us” as long as there is an army of flag wavers ready to smother any kind of dissenting opinion with rhetoric and the tried n’true tactic of “Prove it”
Of course, none of us mortal average citizens will ever be able to “prove it” no matter how much time we spend on the internet collecting facts (and pointing out isolated explosions in the freeze frames of planes hitting the WTC)
We all have to admit that a 4 paragraph rebuttal in a chat room or message board will never make our point for us
I personally get overwhealmed by the sheer amount of information that gets thrown at us by the “prove it” contingency
Not to mention that every piece of information gathered on the internet is suspect
Even the info disseminated by our own trusted institutions like government, the educational system and and ESPECIALLY financial institutions has proven to be unreliable
And there is so much dis-information that it becomes impossible to differentiate between the two because they look identical
This leads most of us to default to our gut instinct
Which is just as dangerous as it is helpful
The gut instinct you use to tell when someone is feeding you bullshit is the same gut instinct that can cause you to judge a situation based purely on emotional recations

So, the question of ten years later is this
Did the terrorists accomplish what they intended?
Here’s a list of the things I see as consequences of what happened on 9-11
And you don’t need facts, figures, pie charts or any kind of documented proof
It is right in front of all of us and it is undeniable

-They not only brilliantly attacked the single most monolithic symbol of the United States’ financial and cultural dominance over the entire Earth but they completely erased it
This finally showed Americans that they are not as insulated from the rest of the world’s problems (a great deal being caused by us) as we would like to have thought

-Their actions caused us to blindly lash out at the rest of the world, showing how unreasonable we can be and how superior we feel towrds the rest of the world
The rest of the world reached their hands out to us in sincere consolation only to be answered with a question
This question was not “What could we have done to inspire people to commit such atrocious and horrible acts?”
Instead, we spat “Are you with us or against us?” in their faces and proceeded to make idological enemies of those who would dare to disagree with us in our hour of pain and outrage (you want freedom fries with that?)

-It wasn’t enough for us to direct our self absorbed indignation towrds the world, the other result is that we turned it inward upon ourselves
This gave each and every Amercian an excuse to question the patriotism of the other, resulting in a continuous escalation of one-upsmanship and fierce attacks on each other’s character
This was an invaluable tool for anyone looking to capitalize on such heated anger and rhetoric
Politicians now had thousand pound wedge issues to distract the people from the facts
News media now had a hyper-inflated environment in which to ramp up their own rhetoric in order to gain ratings (you thought Rush Limbaugh was a psycho until you saw Genn Beck)
All of this noise and overstimulation has provided a dense screen of dis-information to hide the fact that the basic infrastructure of the United States was being altered so that unprecidented levels of control from the top down could be solidified
After all, who’s got time to pay attention to what those guys in Washington raping our regulatory systems when you have to stop that Mosque from being built in your neighborhood?

If you can allow yourself to be emotinally divorced from the question, then you cannot help but aknowledge the answer
YES
The terrorists accomplished their goal on a scale they barely could have imagined
The damage they inflicted to the collective Amercian consciousness can be seen in every facet of our lives
The divisions they caused within our ranks has resulted in the fragmented and unstable future we now face

As a final note
The events and repercussions of 9-11 had a huge influence on the core of my own being
Looking over the past decade, I saw myself become increasingly paranoid, callous, alienated and arrogant
I mistreated those around me and isolated myself from people who truly wanted to be my friend but couldn’t endure the bullshit they had to cut through in order to see the person I was on the inside
The more I used my anger and resentment to justify not trying anymore, the more I became isolated and alone
This came to a head in 2009 when I realized that I had been using these tactics to insulate myself from the horrible reality that I saw the world becoming before my eyes
As an artistic person with the ability to see behind the facades and to read between the lines, I used this isolation to suppress all of the feelings of helplessness I felt
My self worth had diminished to an all time low because the things I saw an commented upon now placed me outide the scope of the general population around me
It culminated in a sense of utter dispair that caused me to question if my own life was even worth pursuing
Fortunately, I was able to start addressing the inadequacies I had within myself about my place in the Post 9-11 world
My purpose has always been to provide an alternate view on the world so that people could broaden their scope of understanding about the different aspects of human existance
There has never been a more ardent need for people to try to make sense of the world around them and to have others articulate the basic emotions they feel
Artists have always performed that role for them and I still hope to be one of them

This is the part of every post 9-11 writing where we sum it up and say that we still have challenges ahead of us and we need to come together as a people blah blah blah.. but I can’t help but feel it may be too late
I hate to endorse actions such as those that were taken on 9-11 but I see one redeeming effect of that day
The terrorists wanted us to finally understand that the greatest country on the face of the Earth has to treat it’s status with responsibility and virtue
Although no one idology will be beneficial to all, it is important to recognize that everything touches everything
And no matter how hard you try to insulate yourself from the repercussions of your actions, it will come crashing down on your shoulders sooner or later
Weather you survive depends on the lessons you learn from such a humbling experience

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